Current 2020 World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers is entering the 2021 season as a repeat favorite. It’s actually the best case for this year’s LA lineup directly frightening. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the league will just lie down and watch Dodgers ’waltz to the back-to-back title.
With that in mind, we asked five of our ESPN MLB experts to select one team they think is most appropriate to remove Dodger – in October, when it counts the most. While none of our experts necessarily expect this team to be better than LA in the long run of 162 games, they have all made their strongest instances of why their pick could be the team that will knock LA out of the postseason. How strong were their cases? Well, we left that to our resident judge, the Honorable Jeff Passan, to decide his judgments just in case.
White Sox Case: If ever the team was ready to explode, this is this year’s White Sox. Last year, Chicago had the second best foul in AL Yoan Moncada had a year after contracting COVID-19 and the Sox had massive holes in the right field and DH. This year, they filled those holes with a veteran Adam Eaton and rookie of the year Andrew Vaughn, two upgrades whose skills set the balance in the lineup. And Moncada is in full swing.
There is no doubt that it is a loss Eloy Jimenez bite the White Sox’s chances of reaching October. But if they manage to make up for his absence until he returns late in the season, the White Sox will become a team no one – including the Dodgers – wants to face in the playoffs. At that point, the White Sox will indeed pass one to nine in a lineup with at least four players – Jose Abreu, Moncada, Jimenez and Luis Robert – able to prepare the MVP-season. Then when the White Sox enter the playoffs, they have a solid veteran rotation built for October and a bull flamethrower (Heuer’s code,, Michael Kopech,, Garrett Crochet) that will bridge the gap to the new Chicago elite, Liam Hendrix. – Bradford Doolittle
Judge Jeff says: The court will not spend too much time struggling to omit your decision Tim Anderson from the Chicago MVP candidate. However, it re-examines your unwillingness to recognize what could have prevented a meeting with the Dodgers: a rotation that isn’t exactly “built for October”. Lance Lynn has not started a post-season game since 2014. Lucas Giolito began a post-season career. In Dallas Keuchelin the past eight playoff starts, he has once endured more than five innings. It was made for October just as I was made for the beach. Further, as much as Moncada’s health should help the White Sox, there are a number of candidates for regression, starting with Abreu and Anderson.
None of this means the White Sox are a bad choice. The threshold of evidence simply has to be higher. Request denied.
Case for Padres: AJ Preller made me a case this winter: Yu darvish,, Blake Snell,, Joe Musgrove,, Jurickson Profar,, Mark Melancon,, Ha-Seong Kim,, Fernando Tatis Jr.. OK, Tatis was already on the team, but locking in at 14 was just another sign that this team seriously wants to win. As for Tatis ’recent shoulder injury, it’s definitely worrying, but I’m not ready to jump off the boat considering his prognosis is decent (at least for now).
I realize that sometimes the teams that win the winter are the ones that have a lot of holes to fill, but that wasn’t the case with the Padres. And that’s why I can challenge the Dodgers. They already had a really good team. Now they have a great one, which includes staff with deeper pitching.
The fact that two teams are in the same division is actually a plus. To be the best, you have to beat the best. Padres will have 19 attempts again this year. You can’t tell me it won’t lift Padres’ competitive mood. If there’s ever a time to remove a multi-year division winner, it’s right after they win the World Series. Padresi will smell blood in the water the moment Dodgers shows signs of a hangover. And of course, it all depends on the recent San Diego update that Tatis will be back and playing as a superstar as he was before, not later. – Jesse Rogers
Judge Jeff says: “To become a man, you have to defeat him,” as they say, counselor, and no good argument begins with a bad imitation of Ric Flair. Nevertheless, the Padres are a reasonable case. Their depth of rotation is actually equal to Dodgers ’, especially if Darvish repeats himself in 2020, Musgrove takes the expected step forward and Dinelson Lamet stays healthy. The lineup is great and deep – although Kim has looked overweight since spring training – and the bullpen is on par with Los Angeles.
A proposal was adopted, with a four-legged lock, to a lawyer who disrespected the Boy from Nature.
Case for the brave: If not for the dizzying game LA played to overcome the 3-1 deficit in last year’s National Championship Series – many of them gave up Mookie Betts – We wouldn’t even have this discussion. The brave could and probably should have beaten the Dodgers and qualified for last year’s World Series. And since they failed to close them in the penultimate round, Braves added Charlie Morton to the top of their rotation and returned Marcell Ozuna for the middle of their lineup. Before the end of April, Mike Soroka, who has already developed into one of the best young pitchers in the game, should be back with a torn Achilles tendon.
Top of their lineup (Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies,, Freddie Freeman and Ozuna) and the peak of their rotationMax Fried,, Ian Anderson, Morton and Soroka) is as good as everyone in the sport, including that of the Dodgers. Their bulls are complex, their composition of 40 people is deep and Cristian Pache – mostly forgotten on this list – could be the 2021 National League rookie of the year. If you gave the Dodgers players a truth serum and asked which team they would rather avoid in the best of seven series, I bet most of them would pick these Brave even podre. Their precarious slow start – the product of really close losses – will soon hit the radar. – Alden Gonzalez
Judge Jeff says: That’s a damn good case. And it felt like a great case before the Braves lost their top four in the season. But don’t forget their thin bench. And it felt like a great case before the Braves lost their top four in the season. But don’t forget their thin bench, which is seemingly supported only Pablo Sandoval. This is still NL, and the Braves have to upgrade at the deadline so they can get along better in late changes with a designated stopper who is no longer in the game. That said, the proposal approved.
Case for Yankees: For all the pomp around many young, talented baseball teams like the Padres, Braves and White Sox, the Yankees are still Yankees. They still have Judge Aaron,, Gleyber Torres,, DJ LeMahieu i Giancarlo Stanton in the middle of the lineup, of course, except for injuries. They still have Gerrit Cole on the front of their rotation and the bull anchored along Aroldis Chapman,, Chad Green i Zack Britton. Insert Corey Kluber,, Jameson Taillon and you have a group that could easily keep up with Dodging Los Angeles as the most talented team in the sport. Mentioning that the Yankees have a chance to win the championship is like saying that LeBron has a chance of winning the NBA Finals, but sometimes a boring choice is still the right choice. – Joon Lee
Judge Jeff says: While I appreciate Mr. Lee’s attempt to manually dispel the Yankees ’propensity for injury, there is an undeniable element of skepticism in them because they have not remained healthy. It’s hard to buy the Yankees idea without making that leap – a leap that stretches farther from Stanton and Judge to Kluber, Taillon and Luis Severino, returning from Operation Tommy John. Complicates things AL AL East which is no walk. The Blue Jays were in the playoffs last year and are better this season. The Rays beat the Yankees last season and are always a threat. Boston is better. Baltimore, as the Red Sox learned at the weekend opening, is also not a cake walk.
New York may be the AL East favorite and have the talent to overthrow the Dodgers, but this court needs to see half a season of health from the principle before it joins a wagon that always seems to be missing a wheel. I Gleyber Torres you should also catch a hanging ball. Request denied.
Case for the Mets: I originally went with the citizens here, but how do I choose them after that Max Scherzer gave up four rides on Opening Day !? So I opted for the Mets instead. Yes, going through NL East will be like surviving the 1980s Hagler-Leonard-Duran-Hearns snails. But if the Mets do that, they can start the October rotation Jacob deGrom … and, lo and behold, they have other good beginners Marcus Stroman i Taiyuan Walker, and I hope Carlos Carrasco becomes healthy and Noah Syndergaard returns around mid-season. But it’s all in deGrom. He is so good that he started his season by throwing 24 consecutive fast balls. It hits 100 mph with ease. Paint the corners. This is the year of deGroma. He is capable of Madison Bumgarnerlike running in 2014 and shutting down the Dodgers lineup. (And the Mets can guess a little.) – David Schoenfield
Judge Jeff says: Well, the last team to beat the Dodgers in the postseason were the Nationals, so I see where you went with that initial thought, but if you’re going to pick another NL East team to beat the Dodgers, the Mets may be the top better candidate for this season. (Screaming from Philadelphia.) In fact, the argument should be made that the citizens are more likely to miss the playoffs than to beat the Dodgers.
They have the best pitcher in the world at deGrom and that rotation that potentially includes Stroman, Walker and – when they return from injury – Syndergaard and Carrasco is dangerous enough to follow what the Nats did against LA 2019. But it’s a little too early to assume that all those pitchers will be on the hill in top form by October. And if manager Luis Rojas can’t turn one of them into a super relief and has to stick to these bikes? Well, that means the proposal has been rejected – for now.